Tag: tonytown.com

TonyTown Hold No Virtue Dancing With Death

The Rattler…

TonyTown Hold No Virtue Dancing With Death

So here is the story about “the rattler”

Now this was a long time ago, and I am positive that some of the facts will be mixed up, but here it goes. Kelly can correct me if I am wrong anywhere. She has access to this.

A long long time ago at a nice body of water far far away from our very own DFW (White River lake near Lubbock, TX). Two fun-loving kids (Kelly and Tony) were enjoying a few days of fun in the sun, water skiing, tubing, etc (and I think we even got dangerous and played some badminton too). Anyhow, we’re enjoying the weekend, everything was as good as it could be (we were heavily chaperoned lots of Kelly’s family was there) but we managed to have loads of fun nonetheless.

Suffice to say that a few days of fun in the in the sun was great but it was mid afternoon and alas Kelly and I had to get back to Dallas the next day. Well as it happens we were asked to make sure and get all of our stuff off the dock and boat so we would be packed in time. (I can’t remember if we were flying or not but we were definitely on a schedule.) Anyhow, it was about an hour until dusk and one of Kelly’s relatives mentioned something about them not wanting us out after dark because of all the rattlesnakes.

Now this was the FIRST mention of rattlers I had heard since we got there, and since we had been there for a day or two already I think we both completely disregarded his warning boy was that a total mistake.

Kelly and I went down to the dock, talked for a bit, grabbed all our stuff, and with impeccable timing, it got dark before we were halfway back up to the cabin. Now as it happens, I am in fact a rather chivalrous guy and was more concerned for Kelly than I was for myself (teenage immortality at its best) and was watching the ground pretty closely when I saw a “stick” laying halfway into the trail that was not there before (I know – big hint eh?).

What do I do? I stop and point the stick out (its about 6 feet away at this point) to Kelly, who got REAL jittery.

I know the range on the snake and it’s not in a position to do any biting (yet) and so I stomp my foot on the ground hard to get it to move away – nope – no luck.

I kick dirt at it twice it still just sits there.

Now keep in mind it is pretty dark and I am honestly thinking I might have just missed seeing the stick on the way down, so I decide to make sure. I tell Kelly to get back, at which point she promptly runs screaming back toward the dock. Using my beach-towel popping prowess, I use a tank-top I left on the dock and twist it up real fast for a really nice pop. Now I have left welts on people plenty when I pop people with towels. In my sheer fit of genius, what was I doing?

Yes – I was about to pop a rattlesnake with a twirled cotton tank top.

I twiirrrrll it up.

I pull the shirt back in a fluid movement.

And SSSSSSNNNNNNAAAAAAAPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!

The noise that came from that “stick” immediately after making contact with my godlike beach-towel popping prowess was one of the most surprising and scariest noises I had ever heard.

So…the “stick” wasn’t a stick. It was in fact a rattlesnake, and I just snapped it right in the rattle like a professional bullwhip artist. It was so pissed it launched itself up in the air laterally and landed coiling up towards me.

It was my turn to run, and at the time I was thinking “Kelly must be psychic! She ran way before there was a problem!” And so I ran all the way back to her to a spot relatively at midpoint between the dock and the cabin. Its not a short walk, and if memory serves correctly it was at least 100 yards from dock to cabin anyhow, by the time I get to Kelly, its not just one rattle going off – it is many many rattlers. A very large number of rattlers, all nice and concealed by the onset of full nightfall, but more than close enough to scare the both of us into thinking we were totally dead, awaited us in every direction is seemed.

…so…

We’re trapped in a small clearing with the sound of a gazillion rattlesnakes plying their trade all around us (we cant see them but we can damn sure hear them). We’ve got a distance run we cant make in the dark without light (nope we didn’t have a flashlight either), we’ve got a gazillion rattlers all around us, and basically we’re both totally thinking we’re snake food in a few minutes.

So what did we do?

We screamed our frickin’ heads off like we were already definitely gonna die in the next few seconds.. I cant remember what we said to each other but we were both really freaked out and I wasn’t about to let Kelly take the heat for my ignorance, and so we decided if it came down to it she was to get up on my shoulders when I made a run for it so at least she would get out.

But alas someone heard our pleas for help.

The neighbors heard us apparently. But unfortunately they obviously thought we were vandals or trespassers or something because they SENT THEIR DAMN DOGS AFTER US!!!!

So yeah now we have two huge dogs coming at us but apparently aware they needed to watch for the snakes too (they didn’t come directly at us at full run – they walked toward us like they were circling and growling a lot. Kelly and I are screaming our heads off even more. I tell Kelly to run if the dogs attack…somewhere in this she decides it is safer on my shoulders…or maybe I told her to I cant remember we have two dogs growling making their way toward us, and a field full of rattlers in between us and our cabin. Kelly’s relatives are made aware of our location by the neighbors and then when the neighbor finally gets within earshot we hear in between our cries for mercy “They kill snakes!!!!” Heh – do I feel like an ass yet? Oh yeah – the dogs are trained to kill rattlers! Score one for us!!!!!

Anyhow, Kelly’s gun-toting but not-so-courageous relatives wouldn’t come out to us with the damn light. But they were nice enough to offer to shine the light on us as we made our way up the trail to the cabin. So we still had a field full of rattlers to deal with.

Yep, I did it – with Kelly on my shoulders, I navigated the rattlesnake-infested field and eventually made it to the cabin. Neither one of us suffering any damage (except maybe to our egos) and the only damage to me was feeling guilty for the whole thing. Kelly was totally thankful but I never stopped feeling guilty.

Yes, I am positive one of us would have stepped on that original rattler if I hadn’t seen it. And there was no way to know if we would have been bitten by surprise on any other part of the way up to the cabin. The bottom line is I don’t consider what happened an act of courage. There were tons of things I could have done to handle the situation better, and instead of handling it better I resigned to get myself bit (or eaten by crazed dogs) to give Kelly the time and protection to make it back to the cabin.

Someone once said I was full of blind courage when I told this story.

Maybe so. I am damn near blind, and it’s no secret that Death and I have danced on more than a few occasions, but having that kind of courage entails some responsibility as well people. I might be more than willing to play the “Risk My Life” card to save someone here or there, but I’ve no right to involve anyone else unnecessarily.

Anyhow this is our Rattler story. Cheers Kelly!



10 years old…and I am still here…

10 Year AnniversaryPeople still ask about “Hold No Virtue.” I try to explain it as this. Being virtuous isn’t something to be aspired to or cherished, indicating a material value at some level and thus will be withheld in lieu of fear of loss. Virtue doesn’t belong to the virtuous, rather vice versa…the virtuous are just being good. To hold on high someone that is good is part of the mistake, as I think it should be the baseline for how we interact with one another. I simply think that we have it within ourselves to be better without handing out prizes for it.

Now…as for the “Tonytown” part…well I am happy to say that wasnt actually my idea…

…and then Rob says with that crazy grin,
“HAHA…She’s about to get a free ride on the skinboat to Tonytown!”

It’s funny considering how this all started. I was just starting to tinker around with hosting and just starting to get my sea legs back on the unix of things, and wanted to convert what journal entries I had left to a digital format for later reference. I’d been tinkering with domain usage and an old friend Rob had a saying about me referencing the term “Tonytown” I knew that would be the perfect name for this. The really funny part is that I had assumed I was using the c2/cafelog right (which I wasn’t), and was making all those journal entries public instead of keeping the journal entries private.

…you see there are things you just cant live down, or laugh at. But that is it, the origin of how this all started. I went from accidentally posting all my entries and memories…from Dancing with Death and mentioning (and getting called out on) high school crushes, and even accidentally leaving a homemade rss aggregator running so well that I was getting more traffic from other bloggers articles than they were getting on their own posts.

But it’s always been fun. It’s always been an enabler for me to speak my mind on the subjects that even some of my close friends aren’t comfortable discussing. It’s enabled me to grow what was a hobby into a skill, and even more into expertise. At one point I even labelled myself a giant dork for having such a hobby. 10 years of WordPress (in all its incarnations), 10 years of expression. This little piece of internet real estate was my true enabler. It let me groom and cultivate the world…all colored lovingly in my rarely humble opinion.

10 years…and I own a successful IT company rather than worry about the 9-5 grind.
10 years…and now I’ve met all the wonderful bloggers, writers, and people that inspired me.
10 years…and now I own my own hosting company…not just one little blog.

…and this was very likely the first little step.

Cheers interwebs! Happy 10 Years of putting up with my nonsense!

-Tony



Thoughts on minimum wage increases…

minwageI am just thinking aloud here, but my logic is telling me that minimum wage increases shouldn’t and don’t have the effect some people and organizations say will happen.

See…here is what raising minimum wage gets everyone, the middle class pays for it, as the salary changes made to accommodate for manpower will initially result in price hikes, but in efforts to minimize client/customer impact, all middle positions will be the first ones hit as those are the easiest to justify. The $5 extra you might get from a raised minimum wage doesnt magically come out of the decision maker’s profits. It doesn’t work that way. Businesses are there to make money, and the owners of those businesses are rarely there on behalf of all their employees.

More importantly, lets touch on the targeted demographic: minimum wage earners, which is specifically NOT the unemployed demographic, which everyone immediately assumes to be the primary beneficiary. Nope, what we’re talking about are the people that already have jobs, because the businesses will not restructure themselves with a goal of spending more money on labor. they will restructure themselves in a manner that minimizes the impact of increases in cost of labor.

This doesn’t help the poor in the least, it just makes 10% of the country less poor, and 30% of the country more poor as the impact of adjusted salary plans are engaged to accommodate for the hike in minimum wage.

Now, do I have your attention? Good. Here is what I think will make it worse. This disconnect in income differences further segregate wage earners from each other. This meas those that make more are further separated from those making less, initially this is only a change in wardrobe or car model, but over years it quickly develops into a very clear social distinction between groups that average less and/or more annual income. I am saying that it will exacerbate a social division already present. Inflation hits and the cycle repeats itself.

Now, I am not an economist, and this is all pure streaming thought with only cursory research, but seriously, how is raising the minimum wage by itself going to fix the poverty line?

-Tony